Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye, bye 2014

They say all good things must come to an end and so much the year 2014.  I will say this hasn't been my most favorite year (primarily due to health reasons), but it's been a year of blessings nonetheless.

I'm still not a resolution maker so there's none of that "new year, new me" bullshit.  Sorry folks, I keep it real.  The truth of the matter is... I hope to have a new me every single day!  I don't need a new year for motivation.  However, to show I DO have a heart, I get the idea of having a clean slate... a blank page in a 365 page book to write your new story.  

My boys... one turned 4, one turned 10 and the other turned 15.  I turned 42 and still have the same 8 grey hairs that I pull every few months.  

This fall, I became the mother of a high school freshman, a 4th grader and an elephant.  (Don't laugh.. they don't just call them "pre-K" rooms, they get assigned animals.  It's much more exciting, don't you think?)

I didn't read as many books as I had intended... 

I finished my planner project... HUGE accomplishment!

I reread The Hobbit and saw part 3.

I've made so many great friends... and am so thankful for those wonderful people in my life.  

I've been to more doctors offices and had more tests run on me than I really want to even consider.  Crohn's is not my friend.  Some doctors are assholes who think everything spawns from depression -- newsflash -- it DOESN'T!  It's totally okay to advocate for yourself and move along (thanks Jennifer!)

It's been a crazy year and, you know how I love to reflect on crazy so let's delve, shall we?  There have been some bizarre and newsworthy events in our world this year as well and... well, ya know, I do have to "go there."

The top grossing movies of 2014 were:


These are in order from 10 to 1.  I want to give commentary on these because... well, it's my damn blog and ya know... I like movies!  

How To Train Your Dragon 2 made me want a Toothless.  I haven't seen Interstellar though Josh has... twice and loved it.  I haven't seen Mockingjay yet because I was waiting for Josh to have read the book but he spends more time fondling the remote and his phone than a book so I will try to go see it in the next couple of weeks alone!  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes... sorry, I think these are stupid ... stupid... stupid.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2.... again more with the same characters -- is there an ounce of creativity left in Hollywood?  Captain America... yeah, didn't see.  X-Men... again, yeah... no.  Maleficent.  I didn't see it in the theaters but pre-purchased it through Disney and I LOVE IT!  It's an amazing backstory and while I'm not on "team Angelina," I thoroughly enjoyed her performance.  I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas day with Josh.  I bought it for him as a gift.  It's a good flick.  I watched it as much as a Benji with a Kindle sitting next to you will allow...and it made me want to be the green chick.  No clue what her name is but... she's a badass.  And, while I am a fan of Transformers, I haven't seen it.  I'm a Marky Mark fan too which is even crazier to think I haven't seen it knowing HE is in it... yeah... just wasn't a priority.  I DID see The Hobbit and I fully expect it to make some kind of list!

The sports headlines of the year are that Seattle won the Superbowl and San Fran-sicko won the World Series and Donald Sterling is a racist.  Wow, did that one really catch ANYONE by surprise?  Yeah, I didn't think so.


In true April form, I have slept through some big headlines... (apparently there were some winter Olympics somewhere... yeah.. not a fan... )

... other news stories I could care less about others... and many of them just made me shake my head in disbelief.  

... in March, an entire Malaysian Airlines airplane went missing.  Jason Biggs (actor from American Pie) had a total social media backlash for tweeting "Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?"  Ill-timed?  Yes.  Lynch mob worthy?  No. What's sad.... I thought that was funny.  If Joan Rivers had said it, no one would have said a thing.  Hypocrites.  Then you get the Mythbusters who can find the NOT so proverbial "needle in a haystack".  Maybe we should put THEM on the case.  It could happen.  

... women have come forward claiming Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them THIRTY YEARS AGO.  I claim it's a smear campaign.  I can understanding the whole idea of harboring that initial fear for a week or two... but after thirty years... you have to get on with your life so you're either making trouble or wanting to make some money.  There can be no closure at that point.  I'm speaking as a victim... for me to point fingers at this stage in the game... does no one any sort of good.

... we had an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants into our country because our sieve-like borders provide no deterrent.  Many of these people illegally entering were children.  Many of these were very SICK children who were put on buses and taken to various undisclosed locations throughout our country.  We have many diseases which should have been eradicated by vaccination starting to reemerge again in our communiites with no explanation why.  Coincidence?  I think NOT!  While I do understand they want to enter America for a better life.  Breaking the law is BREAKING THE LAW and we should NOT go bankrupt as a country to attempt to provide a better life for those being here illegally than we do for those who fight and teach and ALREADY... ya know... LIVE here.  We are going to penalize our nation's citizens for not having healthcare while giving it away for free to those who are here illegally.  Don't even start to ask me about numbers.  I live between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas where the two state hospitals combined give birth to more ILLEGAL BABIES than ANY OTHER HOSPITALS IN THE NATION.  Just the two of them!  Both less than 30 minutes from me either way.  We have to stop the anchor baby laws.  OMG this is a rant I could go on for days about!

... whatever network airs the "Honey Boo Boo" pulled the plug because mom was caught on camera (though (shocker) denied) dating a registered pedophile... who even kept this preposterous show ON the air should have their eyes poked out.  How is that even remotely considered entertainment?  A bunch of white trash... I just don't understand for one iota of a nanosecond the compulsion our country has with train wrecks.  Her mom should have taken the money had has some liposuction on her five necks.  The whole thing grosses me out.

... AC/DC's drummer murdered someone.  Maybe all those years of drugs actually took away his ability to reason.

... I could spend weeks talking about the strife in the Middle East.  The violence makes my head spin.  While I don't fully even claim to understand it all, it does make me take pause to contemplate... do THEY even know what the hell they're fighting about anymore?  I do know that everyone seems to think that THEY are right and rightfully entitled.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist, however, to understand that not everyone can be right.  

... and amid the atrocities happening every day in Syria, we still have time to rally for public outcry to Denmark where they euthanized a healthy 18-month old giraffe and... fed it to their tigers.  They subsequently performed a public autopsy ... great!  I know my kids are ALWAYS begging see happy leggy animals killed on public display!  Can we go again, Mommy?

... oh yeah, and there was this little outbreak of EBOLA that hit... DALLAS after our idiot-in-chief claimed that it would be an "unlikely event" that someone infected with Ebola would ever "reach our shores."  Yeah, well, buddy, it reached our shores.  It reached our STATE.... it reached THIRTY MINUTES FROM ME.  I'm no fool in that when the government says ANYTHING In the neighborhood of "highly unlikely" you can bet your ass -- it's GONNA happen.  Mark my words.  I feel SO much better knowing that the government says we needn't worry about that happening in our country... and then it happened...less than 30 minutes from me.  I'm giving an eye roll.  It was SO big, I'm sure you heard it!

... there was this movie that came out at the end of 2013...and it's STILL huge.   Perhaps you've heard of it?  Frozen.  I saw part of it for the first time about a month ago.  It's cute.  Sisters fighting.  False love.  Ice monsters.  Snowmen.  Funny thing, the biggest song and I still don't know the words to Let It Go.  I just know "let it go."  So, the fact that I'll likely never know I, too, should probably just ... ya know... let it go, right? HAHAHAHHA!!!  (Bad pun, yes, I realize that!)

... I'm in complete and utter disbelief that someone I'm sure you've ever heard of (Kim Kardashian) posed nude...and her ass was all oiled up and photoshopped ... GASP can you BELIEVE it?!  Wow!  Such a shocker!  Her kids will be so proud to know their mom's shaved girlie bits are out there for the whole world to see.  Be proud.  I see drug problems in their future.  Hell, they'll probably get them from their dad.  Loser thug.

... there was a huge social media frenzy with everyone taking the ALS ice bucket challenge.  You were supposed to take a bucket, fill it with ice water, give a speech... challenge friends.  They had 24 hours to do the challenge or donate.  OR they can donate and still do the challenge.  

... in true Hollywood fashion, several of the big couples got divorced.... one notable one was Kris and Bruce Jenner.  Notable why?  He has now apparently turned himself into a woman.  One UGLY... UUUUUUUUGLY woman.  Why, Bruce?  WHYYYY????

... in Ferguson, Missouri, a thug robbed a convenience store, man-handled the clerk, and subsequently was dubbed a "gentle giant" by the media.  The media machine is OUT OF F'N CONTROL!  They would go on to report that this "gentle giant" was shot by a police officer as he was surrendering.  Forensic evidence and the autopsy confirmed the officer's story and the town rioted and burned shit down.  Let me tell you something.  1) teach your children respect 2) do not run from the police 3) do not attempt to go for a police officer's gun and 4) how does looting and burning down your neighborhood stores... the ones that bring TAX DOLLARS INTO YOUR OWN COMMUNITY BENEFIT YOU?!  Lives matter -- I don't care if you're green, orange, red, black, white purple or teal with silver polka dots.   Lives matter... but there is a thing called respect, restraint, order, law and discipline.  Exhibit those and you will NEVER have a problem with the police.  Period.  They stopped traffic on the INTERSTATES... that is NOT peaceful demonstration. Martin Luther King has to be rolling over in his grave.  Anyone standing for this bullshit.  

... a HUGE ferry in South Korea capsized with over 400 people on board.  Over 300 students perished in the waters.  I just can't imagine... they urged the younger children to go back to their rooms as others were evacuating.  HOW HORRIBLE!

... the US saw a huge tornado outbreak in April.  Sorry, I didn't see the reports of wild looting and how they expect tons of governmental handouts.  I only heard "we will rebuild" and we will be back.  

... in April over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria.  And a social media hashtag war was started.  #bringbackourgirls It's rather idiotic, to me, to think a hashtag would have any sort of impact on this incident.  In my eyes, the reality is that you're dealing with smartphone toting first-worlders who probably couldn't even locate Nigeria on a map.  For anyone to consider that a hashtag would be consequential in actually bringing their girls back anymore than me saying #shootmenow after spending all day with a whiney four-year-old will actually result in me being shot, needs to understand in dealing with terrorists -- a hashtag doesn't mean shit.  Hell, they probably don't even have a smart phone or social media accounts to begin with.  They sodomize goats for goodness sake!  Those girls were abducted because they seek the one thing that can get them out of the situation they find themselves... an education.  The cruticial key is to EDUCATE THE FEMALES so that they realize that they are NOT SECOND CLASS CITIZENS but that they are worthy of so much more than they are taught or believe.  Their fate was likely being sold as wives to the militants for next to nothing.  A hashtag won't bring them back... if it were only that easy.

... Sony pictures was going to release a comedy about two tools who were going to go undercover and kill North Korea's leader.  Apparently, Sony was hacked.  Claims arose that it was North Korea who hacked Sony.  Other developments claim that it was an inside job.  The movie never aired for fear of terrorist attacks at the opening.  Weenies.

King George set off for his final tour.... sigh... he is... the man... in Wranglers.  There is no other...

There was some just weird "new" that I found searching thorough websites... I have to share that, too.

Did you realize it was a big deal that Justin Beiber unfollowed Selena Gomez on Instagram?  Why is that news?

Did you realize that Niki Minaj has a big ass and people feel compelled to talk about it?  She's a foul mouthed skank.  Zero respect for her.  Trash.

Nick Jonas took pics in his skivvies grabbing his junk.  Sigh... so much for his wholesome appearance.  He's cute but since he's old enough to be like... my kid... I find it gross.  

Miley Cyrus probably licked something or showed her butt crack... I'm sure that's up there in someone's "wow" list.  

We lost some talent this year too.  

Robin Williams killed himself and everyone seems to just be beside themselves about it.  

Joan Rivers died during another plastic surgery at the age of 81.  Again... people were just beside themselves about it.  The woman was a bitch.  I don't get it.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died from a heroin overdose leaving three kids fatherless... I can't even begin to understand addiction so I hold my opinions as a loser as my own.  He could have been a fantastic person...but to be so weak that you cant realize your own worth over that of an element that can kill you.... I just have no compassion in me for that ... for anyone.  I've known and lost too many weak.

Other celebrity deaths to note.... Lauren Bacall passed away. Maria von Trapp, 91, the last living member of the von Trapp family died.  Mickey Rooney (Gus from Night at the Museum series), Ann B. Davis (a.k.a. Alice from The Brady Bunch), Casey Kasem (following a ridiculous dispute where his wife actually HID HIM from his children -- seriously there are just stupid people in the world!), James Garner and Russell Johnson (the professor from Gilligan).

One that is definitely noteworthy is Maya Angelou.  The world needs more people like her in it... and her passing definitely made me sad.  Do a search for quotes by Maya Angelou... she was such a wise soul.

But, as it always does... life goes on.

All in all, it wasn't all it could have been...but it was so much more because of who was in it.  Now, on to 2015... I'm ready for it.  You?  Happy New Year friends, family and loved ones.  Let's start writing our books!  Grab that pen...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Marshmallow World

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!  Saturday 9: Marshmallow World (1963)  Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1. This song likens fluffy clouds to marshmallows. What does the sky look like where you are today?  What sky?  There is nothing but clouds and they sure don't look marshmallow-y.  It looks like London fog!

2. The lyrics refer to snowballs. Have you ever been in a snowball fight?  Absolutely.  I love the snow!

3. Chionophobia is fear of snow. What phobias do you have?  I have a fear of.... well, I'm not sure I'm actually AFRAID of anything to be honest. 

4. In 2004, Canadian school children raised money for charity by setting a new world record: the most snow angels made in 24-hour period. Have you ever participated in a fundraising stunt?  Not that I'm aware of.

5. When marshmallows were first introduced, they were used for medicinal purposes. Specifically to soothe sore throats. What do you take when your throat is bothering you?  I take out my Young Living Essential Oils and my local honey.  On a teaspoon, I put 1 drop of Thieves, 1 drop of orange, 1 drop of lemon, I drop of peppermint, and 1 drop of frankincense.  I cover that completely with local honey... stir just a bit with a toothpick to incorporate the oils better and swallow.  Cough suppressant, opens nasal passages and soothes sore throats.

6. Marshmallows are an important ingredient in the Rice Krispies Treat recipe. If you were asked to prepare something for a bake sale, what would you make?  I would bake my Paradise Bakery Copycat Sugar Cookie recipe... it was given on my Instagram account a couple of days ago.  They're THE BOMB!

7. Darlene played Danny Glover's wife in the Lethal Weapon movies. Do you enjoy action movies?  Absolutely!

8. Darlene's father advised her to always, "shoot for the stars." Share some good advice you've received.  My mom has had a few doozies.... hands me a quarter and says, "Keep this between your knees, use it to call home if you need me to come get you."  

9. Will you be returning/have you returned any holiday gifts?  Returning, no.  Unless the two flannels Andy got me don't fit, but I haven't tried them on yet. I'm a little "chesty" so it's hard to buy a shirt for me that fits.... hate the boobage.  Ain't afraid to admit it.

27th and It's On...

I've spent the majority of my day wrapped up in dusting, laundry, purging, cleaning, simplifying and organizing.  I've surfed my entire Feedly list and took in all the information I was comfortable with.  I contemplated removing the fa-la-la and packing it all away until next year but I think I'll save that nugget for tomorrow.  Today I read some amazing blog entries.  I logged onto Facebook and read everything from passive-aggressive rants, to full-blown confessionals, pleas for prayers and photos of celebrations and yearly reviews.  It's a roller coaster ride for sure.  I've refereed fights, emptied dishwashers, culled collections, organized blocks, built a shelf unit, read, ate, and mostly looked at a lot of aspects of my life in a new light.

So, it's on right now... it's time to contemplate the word, MY word... for my focus.  My yearly journey with a constant theme... and frankly, it's something that I'm thinking about when I read the entries on several of the Facebook groups I'm in.

... the word echoes in my thoughts, deeds and actions.

... and in the posts and sought after hope from others out there in a land of busy.

... in a land of over-planned and stressed-out.

... in the world where we are so plugged in to the insignificant that we miss the very target which we seek because we are so distracted with the chaos around us...

...with the busy...
...the schedules...
...the technology...
...the demands...
...the kids...
...the sports...
...the lessons...
...the homework...
...the cleaning...
...the volunteering...
...the career...
...the cooking...

You see all of this is a choice.  To BE "busy" is a choice.  To BE "overscheduled" is a choice.  To FEEL "obligated" is a choice.

You see, Pinterest makes it LOOK so easy with all these plans of perfection on how to make everything super over the top incredible (the FIRST TIME wink wink) with this aaaaaahhhhhdorable little printable form.  Unfortunately, life isn't always able to be contained in one neat little printout.

My life?  My life is what happens in between those neat little organized lines of busy... and my word -- it's something I've started doing toward the end of this year already... and I will have to tell you that this fall has probably been one of the best yet... and why?

It's because I chose... I CHOSE to put ME first... and SIMPLIFY.

Similarly, to SIMPLIFY is a choice.

I feel I have chosen well.

The best part is... I have a way to take you all on this journey too... I hope you enjoy getting down in the trenches to help simplify, organize, plan and maintain your lives too... even when consistently choosing to simplify all along the way.

My word, my focus, my direction, my goal for this year is to simplify.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26 - tidbits and tidings

Just a bunch of random thoughts for the day.  Enjoy.

  • I hate when Josh leaves to visit his dad in Iowa.  It makes me sad.  I do love accompanying him to the airport, however.  We always share a meal together and usually pick up the tab for any traveling soldiers we spy.  Today, we saw no traveling soldiers... but I saw some neat randomness on the wall of TGI Fridays and it made me smile.
File:Starbucks Coffee Logo.svg
  • I had my first Starbucks in four days today.  They didn't screw it up.  It was good. 

  • I hate the smell of Lysol.

  • I don't understand how someone can have and spend most of their adult live with a last name that ends in "s"  With ALL that "s" experience, and then make their last name POSSESSIVE when they send out a Christmas card.  For instance, My name is April Driggers.  My name ends in an "s."  Yet, I don't say "Merry Christmas from the Drigger's" now would I?  No, because that'd be absurd.  Is common sense with the proper usage really so difficult?  It makes my eye twitch.  

  • My Young Living diffuser is awesomeness.  Josh thinks it's a volcano.  Drew doesn't think anything.  Benji seems to think they are trying to diffuse his brainwaves and constantly shuts it off.  It's an epic battle.  Some days he wins.  Most days I do.  We're trying.  That's what counts.  Right?

  • I lost my voice yesterday.  Today I sound better but my throat still hurts like hell.
  • Drew could eat his weight in my Paradise Bakery Copycat sugar cookies.  The recipe was posted on my Instagram account.  
  • I have the urge to take down all of my Christmas decor NOW because I want to dust my house without having to move it all to dust... and then dust again in a few days when it comes down because of all the random bits of greenery that pops off.
  • I want my tree flocked.  So you could scream MERRY FLOCKING CHRISTMAS!
  • I miss the gym.
  • I hate having boobs. HATE them.
  • Next year for my birthday and Christmas, I want a boobectomy.
  • My friend April is a badass and built her boys one of those Nerf gun storage walls.  She's awesome!
  • I didn't shop today or Christmas Eve.  Not sure you could pay me to.  
  • I do have a 40% off coupon to use at Michael's however, and I want some of their collage frames.
  • I love having a fresh new calendar to start off my new year.  It's one of my most treasured gifts I receive each year from a dear friend and AMAZINGLY WICKEDLY CRAZY talented nature photographer, Bob Falcone.  You should get one, too.  If you ask nicely, he may even sign it for you too.
  • I'm about to spend the next few days in major list making mode as I get ready to fine-tune and tweak my labor of love... more details to come.
  • My kitchen is clean (except for the cabinet tops.  I hate cleaning that... it's like... so dusty... and then I get up there and feel like I have to start all over again cleaning.  Denial is good.  besides, I'm short... I can't reach up there even if I stand on the counters.  Vertically challenged and completely in denial.
  • I need to wash my sheets.  The boys ate pretzels in my bed.  That can't be good.  I'll brush it all over to Andy's side.
  • I had a great Christmas.  I love watching the boys open gifts.  Watching the way Benji is SO excited at just opening things.  Seriously, I think you could wrap individual markers and he would get excited to just open!  Drew savors each gift... totally freaked out on the WWII DVD set we got him... I knew he'd have a geek-seizure over that one.  He did.  Major points for momma bear!  Josh takes his time opening as if tearing the paper at the seams makes the moment more significant or makes him seem less greedy.... but you get that little smile of approval and you know ya done good.  
  • We got all three boys Kindle HDs.  The little ones got them so that I could have mine back.  I'm kinda sick of them on mine always running the battery down.  Pisses me off to be honest.  I can never use it at night and that's when i want to read and surf pinterest to find the exact recipe for whatever it is I"m searching for at the moment.... and how can I remember to look for it and be side tracked 725 times by awesome pins if I don't have my fully charged Kindle at the ready?  Impossible I say! Get yer own!
  • I love the movie Brave. Ya can't watch it and not want to speak in some Scottish Irish dialect.  
  • I'm not drinking enough water.  That's bad.  Starting back on tracking on myfitnesspal app so that I can hold myself accountable.  Going to adhere to this shitty diet of restriction... more like a paleo on crack for autoimmune diseases.  I have to get the gut in check.  I will say the throat issue has been MUCH less the last week or two... so I'm actually savoring the small victories while still having my eye on total healing.  
  • I want to launch my Thirty-One supplies because it's such an awesome product that sells itself.  Just need the time.  Ha!  What's that?!
  • I keep getting signed up for people's crap under my e-mail address.  Right now it's some clown named JERRY who is using MY e-mail address to refinance his house and search for the best insurance rates at the same time.  
  • I'm happy.  No explanation necessary.... but in this current moment.... even with the chaos around me.... I choose to be and am ... happy.
  • I want a hedgehog. 
  • I went to the grocery store because I was planning to make my meatballs with chili sauce and grape jelly.  I'm a snob, I want Heinz Chili Sauce.  There is no substitute. They were out... I grabbed a bottle of store brand chili sauce (lesser quality I'm certain).  Yet a few short steps away, I walk by the meat counter and there is a WHOLE ENTIRE SHELF OF Chili Sauce bottles just smiling at me.  They were so happy to be near me... I think they all secretly wanted to go with me.....They were near their chili meat cuts.  I grab one and promptly replace it with the knock off brand in my basket.  I took that lesser condiment but really didn't want to purchase because it was NOT Heinz.  So, now my inner turmoil begins... I'm conflicted because I really don't want to just LEAVE it where it doesn't go but again, I don't want to have to walk all over the damn store yet again (my list was just .. well, it was COMPLETELY DISJOINTED and I'd been all over the store and back 2 times already.  I was DONE!) So... shamefully, I did... I left that shit right there next to the others right where it didn't belong and it ate at me the ENTIRE REST OF MY GROCERY TRIP.  I mean... this kind of guilt drives me absolutely insane!  :(  I can't hand lit.  When I go back to Kroger I will likely go back to see if it's still there and I could move it back to where it goes or I could apologize.  Yeah... I'm that girl with the conscience the size of the elephant in the room... but I'll also b the first one to tell you about it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Meal Planning 101

I subscribe to an awesome board of creative women who help to inspire one another to be more organized and decorated and to be the best moms they can be!  

I've seen some of the AWESOME decorations everyone has done on their christmas tree. They've helped provide ideas on how to accessorize mantles, entries, foyers, bathrooms... you name it.  The women are a WEALTH of resources.  Decorating isn't always my thing so I tend to just read and be inspired.  However, today someone posted requesting information on meal planning.  

Hey... I CAN HELP!  

I don't know why I haven't ever shared it on here, but I have a pretty good system and even led a class about it at the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake Mom's League.  

I believe information is power so the more we share, the more powerful we all become.

Thus, here is my information download for you all!

Meal Planning - 101

I would think that people would be more prone to want to feed their families whole, nutritious food.  While it’s not always possible, it’s obviously the best choice.  Meal planning helps you alleviate fast food, processed food and allows you to have more time to plan what you want, rather than eat what you have to.

Why I menu plan.  
  • Because I’m busy
  • Because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail
  • As a mom, I feel a responsibility to feed my family fresh, wholesome REAL food… focusing on removing the processed garbage from our diets
  • With a plan in place, we eat out less… which means I know what is IN the food we are eating
  • We ALWAYS have on hand what we need for the recipes.
  • We waste so much less food because we don’t buy more than we need
  • Less dinners delivered out of a window in a sack, less waste means more money in your wallet!
  • You will eat a VARIETY OF MEALS
  • Your FAMILY HAS A SAY in what you are going to eat that week -kids are more likely to eat what you have cooked for them, since they may have requested it
    • TIP:  Let them pick the meal that corresponds with THEIR birthday DAY of each month
  • Work around ALLERGIES (like wheat, soy, etc)
  • LESS STRESS – no pointless staring at the fridge and cupboards "What the heck am I going to make?"

Menu planning may seem like a daunting task but you do it just the same way you’d eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

TYPES of menu planning
There are plans out there that suggest a 2 week rotation or even planning a full month’s worth of meals at a time. I don’t have time for that because of practices and other commitments.  For me, a week at a time WORKS for me NOW. If you look at some of the freezer cooking menus, they actually give you a FULL MONTH's worth of meals to plan but, like I said, I can't plan a month at a time. It just won't work. Having a month's worth of meals in the freezer, however, DOES help for those nights when everything in your plan goes awry.

TOOLS for weekly meal planning
Plus, to be quite honest, when your kids get busy, you HAVE to have a plan.  

So what do you need?

  1. You need your calendar
  2. You need a designated time to do this each week.  
  3. You need recipes.  
  4. You need something to meal plan WITH.

You need YOUR FAMILY calendar -- you need your calendar so that you can see what you need to plan around.  Birthdays, open house, sports practices, dance, ladies’ night out, etc.  

Time -- you need a solid chunk of time that is quiet so you may focus.  IT should be the SAME DAY each week.  Why?  This makes it a habit.  Once it becomes habit and you get your routine down, it can be done in as little as 8 minutes (that’s the truth).  Plus, if you routinely plan your meals around the sales fliers, and those come in the mail on Wednesday -- you know to plan on Wednesday and shop soon thereafter.  

Recipes -- start with a list of your family favorites, not beef wellington

Something to plan WITH -- this can be a blank weekly calendar, a small weekly day timer, software, a piece of notebook paper… SOMETHING. Pinterest is FILLED with hundreds of printable menu planner sheets.

My routine has evolved over the last 12 years.  I started doing this when my son was 2. When he was 5, we brought another kiddo and more chaos into the house.  When he was 10, we brought yet another little person into the world… so I have three boys, all in very different stages of life from the age of 14 to 3.  Meal planning changes and evolves into what we need it to as a family.  As it stands, I’m planning around three baseball teams, cub scouts where I’m a parent of one plus the Committee Chair, boy scouts as a parent, and as a Committee Member, active in my son’s school’s PTO, webmaster, GCS Mom’s League plus I am battling a chronic autoimmune disease which many times leaves me exhausted and drained.  But even at the most basic level -- it’s a blessing and a benefit to your family and you to have a plan.

There is no wrong/right way to do it.  I’ll explain what works for me.

Tuesday- pull out calendar to see what we have going… and I adapt my menu based on our family’s needs…. easier meals for busier days.  Meals that require more prep are on days with less scheduled.

I happen to use a software program that I’ll discuss in a minute… pull recipes into breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert sections of my calendar (or you could easily hand write them)

This software populates a grocery list (seriously, it makes me giddy for the grocery list to just create itself!).  I “shop” my pantry and cross anything off the list I already have.  Shop and then I’m good to go for the week.  

Sounds easy, right?  Sure…. but THIS is when it can really get BORING!  No one wants the same meals every week.  So it’s our jobs to make it creative and nutritious.  Find new ways to make sides or to incorporate variety into our diets.

Planning ideas:

Designing particular nights as certain types of cuisine.   This sounds great, but my kids won't eat French food regularly. Not everyone is a fan of Asian cuisine, etc. So, in theory, unless you have some kids with no picky palates, this won't necessarily be the best place to start.

Sunday - Italian
Monday - Asian
Tuesday - Mexican
Wednesday - American
Thursday - French
Friday - Italian
Saturday - Leftovers    

Another variation is below. This is what I do.

Sunday - leftover  / Freezer Meal
Monday - Meatless
Tuesday - Taco tuesday / Soup
Wednesday - Beef / Sandwiches
Thursday - chicken
Friday - crock pot / Breakfast for dinner
Saturday - Pizza  -- dont forget lunches on these days too as well as breakfast and dinner

****I always include a leftovers day on a weekend -- we all need a break!!!

You can tweak your plan for summer or winter, too.  For instance, in the summer, we grill out a LOT.  I typically will also grill a lot of meat on Sunday and then I use it all week. Take advantage of the in season produce in your menu, too, to keep costs down.  

****Bountiful Baskets is a fruit and veggie co-op that offers fresh, usually locally grown produce for $15 a week.  Their pickups are on Saturday and Sundays so that would be something you’d plan around.  

So you have your themes… now you need your recipes.

Where to get your recipes?
  • ALWAYS start with your family's favorites -- ALWAYS!
  • Pinterest (I'm on Pinterest, I'm a Pinterest whore. I'll admit it. Follow me for lots of yummy recipes. If you see "PTE" on any of my recipes, you'll know that I've added them to my Plan To Eat software (discussed below) so if you 'friend' me on PTE, you have access to these recipes too!
  • cookbooks
  • friends
  • facebook
  • magazines
  • packages

Pick ONE day a week or every 2 weeks to try a new recipe. Don’t collect anymore until you start using what you already have.  Don’t be a digital hoarder!  Once you’ve tried it, if everyone likes it put it in a new binder that is now titled “family favorites” and you have started YOUR family’s cookbook.  If you don’t like it or something was too strong, too much, too this or too that … note that ON the recipe and put it back in your rotation to try again.  If the second time it still isn’t up to par -- pitch it.  There are too many good recipes out there to waste your time trying to tweak one.


Organize -- whether it’s digitally (Evernote) or scan them in, software, handwritten cards, typed out, file folders….

CULL THE CRAP -- I had accumulated a TON of recipes torn from magazines... and I NEVER USED THEM! Why? Because I would have to invest the time to read them, sort them, file them. I tossed the WHOLE pile of recipes I’d torn from magazines because frankly, it wasn't worth the time investment. I don't even think about anything I may have missed because PINTEREST! It's my friend!

Pinterest -- (have I mentioned that?) You can organize boards --eating clean, crock pot, bread, breakfast/brunch, appetizers, stews/soups/chili, seafood and fish, etc.  YOUR WAY and use these as your filing cabinet!


staples on hand
  • Meal in a box --- (NOT the Justin Timberlake kind) boxes in the pantry in case your plan fell through… meals that can be made in 15 minutes.
    • spaghetti (sauce, noodles, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, frozen meatballs) - BAM instant meal
    • quesadillas (flour tortillas, canned chicken or precooked and frozen or frozen meat or even meatless), beans, Mexicorn, cheese, green chilis) - BAM instant meal
    • tacos (precooked frozen meat, crunchy shells, tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa) -- BAM instant meal
    • fajitas -- everything frozen -- BAM instant meal!

(I feel like Emeril when I say "BAM"!)


  • Breakfast - ALWAYS double up batches of waffles, pancakes and french toast.  They freeze well
  • Bacon -- make too much?  Crumble it up and save it in the freezer for fresh bacon bits
  • Double your entrees and you’ll ALWAYS have a home cooked meal ready in the freezer.
  • Typically I will pick ONE set of days every month where I will create a list of “freezer meals” I want and I will list and shop one day.  The second day I will prep.  THIS is another way I have a back up plan.  


There are a LOT of places that offer meal plan services. While some of these are great and it's definitely better than fast food, I will say that rarely -- if EVER -- have we "liked" everything on the menu for the week. So, then you have to negotiate the shopping list to take off what you don't want, etc. However, it's a GREAT place to start and shows you how to throw it all together.

First and foremost, THIS is my go-to source:

  • Plan To Eat
You import all your recipes into it and can use it to meal plan.  There is a calendar feature where you can "queue" your recipes and then drag them into the calendar. You choose breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack -- whatever -- and it populates a categorized grocery list for you. THIS IS A LIFESAFE FOR ME! I use it every week! There is a link in the right hand menu on my blog. If you "friend" me on this software, you can have access to all my recipes. I think I have close to 800 in it now. If you follow any of my food boards on Pinterest and see a "PTE" in the description, you'll know that THIS particular pin has been uploaded to my Plan To Eat recipe book.

  • 5 dinners in 1 hour
Classic, Clean Eating, Gluten Free
3 months $20, 6 months $40, 12 months $72 with archive access
This service has you do meal prep so that it helps save time in the kitchen. I've had some good meals from here.

  • Mesa de Vida
Gluten Free or Healthy Family
$90 per year
While a little pricey for the service, her meals are GOURMET and DELICIOUS.  Gluten free!

Classic, Clean, Paleo, Slow Cooker, Low Fat, etc. etc. etc. have Lunch,
Breakfast and Dessert options add ons.
3 months $30, 6 months $48, 12 months $58 (add ons are $4 lunch menu,
breakfast and dessert are each $3)

  • Saving Dinner
$120 a year but you have the ability to completely personalize your own
menu from their database of recipes and includes classic, Paleo, etc.

  • No More To Go
$7 per month, $18 for 3 months, $34 for 6 months, $64 for 12 months

I certainly hope this has given you some ideas on how to start!